Symmetries and Symmetry-Breakings: The Fabric of Physical Interactions and the Flow of Time

Giuseppe Longo
2010 Foundations of Science  
This short note develops some ideas along the lines of the stimulating paper by Heylighen (Found Sci 15 4(3): 345-356, 2010a). It summarizes a theme in several writings with Francis Bailly, downloadable from this author's web page. The "geometrization" of time and causality is the common ground of the analysis hinted here and in Heylighen's paper. Heylighen adds a logical notion, consistency, in order to understand a possible origin of the selective process that may have originated this
more » ... tion of natural phenomena. We will join our perspectives by hinting to some gnoseological complexes, common to mathematics and physics, which may shed light on the issues raised by Heylighen. Note: Francis Bailly passed away recently: his immense experience in physics has been leading our joint work for many years. Historically, it is with relativist physics that there occurs a "change of perspective": we pass from "causal laws" to the structural organization of space and time, or even from causal laws to the "legality/normativity of geometric structures". This understanding of causal laws by the identification of structural organizations, stems essentially from the intrinsic duality existing between the characterization of the geometry of the universe and that of energymomentum within that universe. By this duality and the putting into effect of the principle of invariance under the differentiable transformations of space-time, the "forces" are relativized to the nature of this geometry: they will even appear or disappear according to the geometric nature of the universe chosen a priori to describe physical behaviors. Now, it is similar for quantum physics, in gauge theories. Here, gauge groups operate upon internal variables, such as in the case of relativity, where the choice of local gauges and their changes enable to define, or conversely, to make disappear, the interactions characterizing the reciprocal effects of fields upon one another. For example, it is the choice of the Lorentz gauge, which enables to produce the potential for electromagnetic interactions as correlates to gauge invariance. Consequently, if one considers that one of the modalities of expression and observation of the causal processes is to be found in the precise characterization of the forces and fields "causing" the phenomena observed, then it is apparent that this modality is profoundly thrown into question by the effects of these transformations. Not that the causal structure itself will as a result be intrinsically subverted, but the description of its effects is profoundly relativized. This type of observation therefore leads to having a more elaborate representation of causality than that resulting from the first intuition stemming from classical behaviors. Particularly, the causality of contemporary physics seems much more associated to the manifestation of a formal solidarity of the phenomena between themselves, as well as between the phenomena and the referential frameworks chosen to describe them, than to an object's "action" oriented towards another in inert space-time, as classical mechanics could have accredited the idea. In summary, our strong stand towards a geometrization of causality may be summarized as follows. Causes become interactions and these interactions themselves constitute the fabric of the universe of their manifestations, its geometry: modifying this fabric appears to cause the interactions to change; changing the interactions modifies the fabric.
doi:10.1007/s10699-010-9210-y fatcat:7k5j4jotn5by3mlboybe2ww34u